Pat & Carole Hildebrandt

Challenge Accepted

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Pictured above, Philip, '85 BSB, and Carole Hildebrandt

Donors come together to help support those with greatest financial need.


As the flagship land-grant institution in the state, the University of Minnesota is committed to ensuring a high-quality education is accessible for qualified students. For a growing number of families, the price of a college education is out of reach, resulting in lower rates of admission, retention, and graduation for students with the greatest financial need.

The Bentson Scholarship Challenge was established to help reverse this trend at the University. Scholarships that are endowed under the Bentson Challenge will meet financial needs of students eligible for Pell grants throughout their four years of undergraduate study by bridging the gap between what a Pell grant covers and what qualifying students can afford—costs which may include tuition and fees, textbooks, and housing. Donors who choose to create their own endowed scholarship funds will receive a generous match from the Bentson Foundation.

“We watched someone close to our family make a decision about where to attend college based on where he was offered the most funding and end up unhappy. We hope this scholarship funding can be the last piece of the puzzle to allow a student to go to the school they really want to attend. It’s nice to give back to Minnesota because we’re both alumni.”

Phil, '85 BSB, and Carole Hildebrandt

At the Carlson School, more than 300 members of the undergraduate population qualify for Pell grant funding. With the help of these early Bentson Challenge donors and others, more Carlson School students will be able to pursue their studies in business without pressing financial worries.

For more information on the Bentson Scholarship Challenge, visit For questions or to learn more about establishing your own endowed fund, contact Travis Smith, Assistant Dean for Institutional Advancement,

Karen and Bill Snedeker

“There are two main reasons we decided to create a scholarship with the Bentson Challenge: the type of student the funds would support, those who have the most financial need, and the added money from the challenge that could increase the impact of our gift,” says Bill Snedeker, ’69 BSB, ’72 MBA. Both Bill and his wife, Karen, were the first in their families to go to college and worked hard to be able to afford the cost of attendance. “College is so much more expensive now,” Karen adds. “Many kids who are bright don’t have the funding. Giving in support of scholarship is important to us.”

Jody Gunderson

“When I heard about the Bentson Challenge, I was moved by the family’s generosity and wanted to partner with them in expanding financial support for promising students. I treasure the rewarding experience I had at the Carlson School and want that experience to be attainable for other students, whether they are drawn by the quality of the education, the beauty of the campus, the excitement of the urban setting, or any of the other compelling reasons to be part of the University of Minnesota.” Jody Gunderson, ’86 BSB

Pat Wyffels

“We see young people today who are in similar situations that Pat [Wyffels ’92 MA-IR] was in 1976,” says her husband David Katkov ’79 BSB, ’89 MBA. “Pat grew up in a family with modest financial means and there was no money for her to go to college.” By combining work-study awards, loans, and Pell grant funding, Pat enrolled in the School of Dentistry and obtained her first degree through the dental hygiene program at the U of M. “The Pell grant clearly was a key part of the financial package,” adds Pat. “We hope our scholarship allows other students to dream big and find their educational and career pathways forward.”

Fall 2020 alumni magazine cover

This article appeared in the Fall 2020 alumni magazine

The year 2020 has brought forth unprecedented change. In this issue of our alumni magazine, we explore these changes and the Carlson School’s role in it.

Fall 2020 table of contents